HUMAN RESOURCES / JUL. 17, 2013
version 3, draft 3

Checking References and Why It Is Important

The recruitment procedure is often frustrating as it is challenging to find suitable employees to fulfill specific job vacancies. It is imperative to have an effective hiring strategy in place to ensure that you evaluate CVs and cover letters in the most time efficient manner, flagging potential candidates as you go. One of the factors to incorporate into your hiring strategy is checking references to verify candidate qualifications and professional experiences.

Why Check Professional References?

A candidate reference is a method of obtaining a professional point of view about a specific candidate. They are usually provided in written format, attached to a candidate’s job application however many individuals do not provide them as part of their application.

Employers are advised to invest time in checking professional references and obtain a verified opinion about the potential employee’s attitude towards work as well as their capabilities. Majority of recruiters check references through telephone correspondence with the contact provided on CVs. When checking references, it is highly recommended that you have a set of questions prepared that are based on the candidate’s application.

The following are example questions you should ask when checking references:

  • What are the primary services of your company?
  • What was the employee’s reason for leaving?
  • Could you please summarize the candidate’s responsibilities while they were working at your establishment?
  • Please describe the individual’s attitude towards their work and responsibilities
  • What would you say are the candidate’s main strengths and weaknesses?
  • Does the candidate work well within a team or independently?
  • How did the candidate respond to feedback/criticism?
  • Do you have any comments to contribute to the candidate’s job application?

The Truth About Background and Reference Checks When Hiring (Cathy Fyock)

The candidate you’re interviewing appears to have everything--the right background, perfect experience, and all the credentials you’re looking for. But it’s too good to be true. And this is about more than just spin: It’s outright lying. Statistics reveal that nearly 36% of applications are falsified!

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